Store benefits Shelby Emergency Assistance

There is a special store in Montevallo where bargains are the rule and the profits help locals in need.

The quaint storefront with its dressed display windows is located on Montevallo’s Main Street near the Montevallo Grille.

A step inside reveals old-fashioned hardwood floors, racks of high quality clothing that would complement the wardrobe of the most well-attired person and shelves of knickknacks that would add to the decor of even the most sophisticated home.

But this is a special shop because the prices are low; the merchandise, though donated, is of high quality; and all of the proceeds after expenses go to Shelby Emergency Assistance, a nonprofit agency based in Montevallo and affiliated with the United Way.

The shop is called &uot;Twice As Nice.&uot; It held its official grand opening just last week. And, according to SEA executive director Paula McNeil-Tall, the store is run by volunteers.

Items for sale range from collectible model cars, coffee cups and dishes to furnishings, from pianos to men’s and women’s clothing to beautiful wedding attire.

Mimi Lawley, a member of the SEA board of directors, pointed out that every item donated for sale is examined for quality. And McNeil-Tall states flatly, &uot;If it is something you wouldn’t wear, we don’t want it in the store.&uot;

She said the purpose of Twice As Nice is to serve as the permanent and only local fundraiser for SEA.

While the store has opened just in time for the holidays, she explained that it will be open year-round.

She said the only other source of funding for SEA (75 percent) comes from the United Way.

McNeil-Tall stressed that after bills for utilities and rent at the store are paid, all proceeds from the store will go directly to SEA where they stay in the local area.

While the store is open to the general public, McNeil-Tall said qualified clients can receive free items of assistance

directly

from the SEA agency.

Clients, she said, include people who have lost their homes due to fire, victims of domestic violence or car accidents or who have suffered the loss of a loved one or

experienced some other catastrophe through no fault of their own.

She stressed that SEA’s goal is &uot;moving people from crisis to self-sufficiency.&uot;

The nonprofit agency was incorporated in 1972 by a group of concerned Montevallo citizens to help those in crisis in Shelby County.

In 1977, SEA became affiliated with the United Way of Central Alabama.

The organization’s staff is made up of professional social workers and educators and relies upon the help of volunteers, who give of their own time.

SEA is administered by a board of directors composed of concerned leaders from the county.

Services available may include food, financial assistance, transportation, limited assistance for medical visits, lab tests or prescribed medications or additional services through the Education Department.

Project Christmas matches sponsors with families in crisis during the holiday season and &uot;Back to School&uot; collects school supplies and gift certificates to distribute to children before school begins each year.

McNeil-Tall also noted that SEA clients are assisted by licensed social workers.

She said the idea for Twice As Nice came from volunteer Reevie Payne.

Payne wanted the store to include clothing only, she said, but the store concept grew into what the shop is today.

McNeil-Tall said volunteer Suzanne Sizemore did an excellent job decorating the store windows, and she thanked Pat Hughes and Debbie Snyder of the Shelby Baptist Association for directions and advice on the store’s operations.

The Shelby Baptist Association operates a similar store on a larger scale at its headquarters in Columbiana.

Volunteer Faye Roberts of Montevallo said the merchandise offered by Twice As Nice has been well received by those visiting the store.

Roberts called the items donated, including a wedding

dress, &uot;treasures.&uot;

McNeil-Tall added that the Montevallo community &uot;loves&uot; the store.

Also with the approaching Christmas holidays, McNeil-Tall emphasized that gift certificates from the store are available.

But she stressed that though 50 volunteers have signed up for duty, more are needed to help sort through donated items. She said interested volunteers can call Lawley at 665-2494 or SEA at 665-1942.

Twice as Nice is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am. to 3 p.m. Donated items may be brought to the store during store hours, and prices can range from 25 cents to $10 or $75 or less for other items such as sofas.

The following is a list of store prices (subject to change without notice):

Men’s clothing: coats/jackets, $3; slacks/jeans, $1; sweaters, $1, shirts/vests, $1; and ties, $1.

Ladies clothing: dresses, $2; slips, $1; camisoles, 50 cents; jackets/coats, $3; sweaters, $1; skits, $1; slacks/jeans, $1; blouses/shirts/vests, $1; evening dresses, etc. &uot;priced as marked.&uot;

Children’s clothing: jackets/coats, $1; all other children’s clothing, 50 cents.

Belts, 50 cents; scarves, 50 cents; shoes, 50 cents; caps, 50 cents.

The 2002 SEA Board of Directors includes Rebecca Cox-Rodgers of Montevallo, president; Agnes Niven, Montevallo, vice-president; Mimi Lawley, Montevallo, treasurer; and members, Ginger Alred of Alabaster, Nick Foster of Montevallo, Sharon Gilbert of Montevallo, Steve Southerland of Montevallo, Bart Kinsley of Montevallo, Freddie Akridge of Calera, David Pritchett of Montevallo, Charlene Robb of Maylene, Nathan McMinn of Montevallo